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Guest Post: Landing Page Optimization Fundamentals

March 9, 2012  |  Katie Drake

Today’s post comes to us from guest blogger Jason Stewart, Director of Marketing at Demandbase,

There’s still time to register for our joint webinar coming up on March 13 on how to convert more leads using improved web form strategy.

Landing Page Optimization Fundamentals. . .
and why the home page might be more important to generate leads

Landing page optimization (LPO) is a booming business, in both B2B and B2C. There are several outstanding firms, including  SiteTuners and Marketing Experiments, that specialize in helping their customers implement and exhaustively test changes to their pages, some minute and some major, that will ultimately help them to increase conversions.

Some common best practices you will hear with regard to LPO include:

Deliver What They Expect
If the landing page does not match the offer that the browser clicked on, you will lose them. For example, if you post an ad for a case study, but the link in the ad points to your home page, you are much less likely to convert the visitor … even if you think the link to the case study is very clear and obvious on your home page.

Clear Offer/Call to Action
If the offer is for a white paper, make sure the content on the landing page talks about the white paper … not who your company is and what you do. The white paper offer needs to be the focal point of the landing page. If you pull a “bait and switch” they will not convert.

Content Above the Fold
Images can add compelling context to a landing page. However, if those images dominate the page and push the actual text of the offer and/or form to below the “fold” of the page (requiring the browser to scroll down) then there could be an impact on conversions.

Focus On Payoff
Remind people what they get in exchange for their contact information, and why they will benefit from it.

Test, Test, Test
Testing has always seemed like eating your vegetables when you were a kid. It’s that thing that we all know we should be doing because it is “good for you” but is hard to execute. This is, of course, where the leading optimization firms excel. They will relentlessly test their suggestions to determine the combinations that drive conversions, and sometimes find that the winning pages do not adhere to any best practices whatsoever! That’s why you test. Every use case is different.

Shorten Your Forms
The single most common piece of advice you will get is to shorten your forms, and that has been the topic of other recent posts, so I will not talk too much more about them. I’ll just refer you to the posts HERE  and HERE.

Don’t Stop There
There is more to increasing conversions than shorter forms and optimizing landing pages. Consider the performance of a two-step conversion funnel. Step one is the home page, step two is the offer page. In this first chart, out of an initial 5000 home page visitors, 250 of them find and click on a white page offer that is interesting to them (5% of the total home page visitors).

Out of that 250 clicks, 10 visitors fill out a form and convert to leads, resulting in a very average 4% conversion rate on that offer page.

Now consider landing page optimization. By making some adjustments and doing some tests on the landing page according to some of the most common best practices (mentioned above) a 2% boost in conversion rates on the offer page would increase conversions by 50% (15 leads vs. 10 leads).

But what would the impact be if we increased the number of clicks from the home page to the offer page? What would happen if we could boost the conversion from home page to offer by 2% as well, resulting in an additional 100 visitors hitting the offer page?

We would boost total conversions by another 6 leads, a 40% increase in total leads produced over landing page optimization alone.
Home Page Optimization
The inference is obvious … we need to drive more of our traffic through our home pages and into the meat of the website, where visitors are more likely to convert to leads. Take a close look at your home page. How much space is consumed by “one-size-fits-all” descriptions of your company, and how much of it is dedicated to offers designed to entice your top prospects to identify themselves and become leads?

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